Loggie said:What time of the year are you planning to go?
There is Michigan Adventure (amusement park) which was bought by Cedar Pointe. You would be about 20 miles from Lake Michigan, there are sand dune rides, mini golf and other touristy things.
While it may be the only review that remarked about the animal conditions, one is enough for me. Any place that does not always pay meticulous detail to their "show" animals goes on our "no visit" list.The mush dogs are not being given enough care. Several dogs had open wounds (fly-bitten ears being one type.) It wasn't until the last day that fly protectant had been put on the dog's ears. My friend noticed that the little donkey and pony hadn't had their hooves trimmed.
johnsontrio said:Last year as soon as the DoubleJJ affiliated with II I put in a request for any summer week between mid June and the end of August. I then found out the name of the gal that made the deposits from the DoubleJJ into II. Soon after she made the deposits for the summer months, I realized that I wasn't going to get a match. We then decided to take advantage of their shoulder season and book directly with them with a discount. We went the third week in August for 2 nights, 3 days.
We booked a package that included 2 nights for 2 adults, 2 children, one trail ride or round of golf each and daily breakfast for all. The total was around $425. If we had not gotten the special package, 2 nights for 4 of us with a trail ride or golf each day and all our meals would have been around $1100.
We stayed in the small A frames in the Back Forty. It has a living room, bathroom with sink, toilet, shower and a bedroom with a queen bed and a jacuzzi tub, no closet, only a chest of drawers. The upstairs is an open loft with 2 twin beds. The living room has a tv, dorm size fridge, tiny microwave, couch and chair, table and four chairs but no sink. In fact, the only sink in the unit is the small bathroom sink. There is a front porch with 2 chairs. There is no way I could have stayed in that unit for an entire week.
The only riding there is trail riding (about 1 hour) unless you purchase riding time in the ring additionally. Our DD and her friend rode the first day but when I offered to pay for additional riding on day 2 they declined. The petting zoo was cute. The outdoor pool is not heated and in August with the temp in the 70s and windy conditions the girls lips were blue. They didn't enjoy the pool that much. They also have sledding dogs there that they use in the winter. The children, if old enough, can walk the dogs at certain times of the day. The girls really enjoyed this. There are crafts that you can do for a fee. There is a basketball area and they were planning a long paved bike trail.
The food in the Back Forty is a dining hall with set times if you are staying on the all-inclusive packages. The food was out in the open in the dining hall and there were many flies. We ate only food that was packaged such as cereal and yogurts. I would rate the food on par with the girl scout camp that we go to. There is also a bar with typical bar food, hamburgers, chicken strips etc. It is not included in the all-inclusive plan. There is a very nice restaurant in the golf area of the resort and that is where we ate dinner both nights. My husband palyed the golf course twice and said it was great.
The nightly entertainment varies. The first night they had a corral games with interactive events for everyone. It was a lot of fun. The secong night they had a barbeque dinner in the adult camp area which is the original part of the DoubleJJ. It used to be called the Jack and Jill Ranch. It is what you would picture a camp from the 50's looking like. After dinner they had a kareoke night but it wasn't much fun. The staff weren't good a getting the party started and the music selections were old, old. On Friday nights they have a rodeo and it's probably a blast but we weren't there for that.
I talked with the man in charge of the timeshare sales there. There are several different types of accomodations that could possible go into the II bank. Some are full size homes in the Back Forty, some A frames in the Back Forty and some condo type units in the golf course section. I don't know how you would be able to determine what kind of unit you would get. The golf course area would not be where you'd want to be with a small child. It was also unclear last summer what amount of fee you would have to pay to include the activities and food once you got an exchange that would provide the lodging. There is no way you could do without their food in the A frame as there is no kitchen.
As far as the area, you are off the beaten path. It is probably a 30 minute drive to get to Lake Michigan and the amusement park. The way I figured it, unless you are there on a discounted package, you are just about spending cruise ship prices for your vacation. Family of 4 for a week is around 3 Grand. Too expansive to stay there and leave for your entertainment.
My suggestion would be to book a 2 night discounted package and try it out. You can book 2 of these as long as you leave for a night. I would consider going there, then go to Michigan Adventure or Lake Michigan for one or two nights and then return if you liked it. The other possibility would be to rent an RV and go there and stay in the RV park. They sell an activity pass for those people staying in the RV park.
I don't mean to sound down on the DoubleJJ. The staff was very nice and we had a good time. However, if we had paid the usual going rate (not gone shoulder season) I would have been terribly disappointed. It is really more like a family camp akin to a girl scout camp than the upscale experience that I expected. My expectations were probably formed by comparing the cost of cruising and the services provided, activites etc.. and the cost of staying at the DoubleJJ.
I hope that helps. If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them. Amy